You may consider Japan is one of the best country to live in if you are a gamer. This is true.(If you are otaku of course) Most of JRPGs are produced in Japan, some world’s the most famous gaming companies are found in Japan, Eroges are almost exclusive for Japanese and there are gaming arcades in every single town. It could be better place than heaven if you are otaku gamer.
However, the heaven for gamers will turn into hell if you are a PC gamer. I’ll explain why.
Almost no Japanese games are available on STEAM
This is one of the worst reason why it sucks to be a PC gamer in Japan. As you may know, some Japanese companies, such as: SEGA, KONAMI, TECMO KOEI GAMES, publishes games on Steam. You know what? NONE of games published by these companies are available on STEAM. You can’t purchase games developed by your own country, in your own language. You can not even activate Metal Gear Rising if you are connecting from Japanese IP address, which means if you felt sorry to me for reading this article and decided to send me a gift of Metal Gear Rising, I can NOT activate it because I live in Japan.
Imagine if Valve finished Half Life 3, but decided not to sell it to people who are connecting from U.S. IP address. You will be outraged(If you are meh, replace it with Halo 6, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.2 or anything you love). That is what is happening in Japan. If you wish to play games developed or published by those companies listed above, you have to purchase physical copy for PS4, PS3, Xbox or Xbone.
I have absolutely no idea why they are doing this. I would purchase MGS:R for $30 if I can play it on PC while used copy of MGR for PS3 is available for as low as $6. They are somehow refusing Japanese to pay for them, ignoring cash cow.
I once contacted those companies, but all reply I got was “This is not our problem, ask STEAM”, “We consider it”, or no reply. This have to be stopped. I once asked directly to Kojima Production’s twitter account to see if MGR will be available on Steam, but the reply was “There’s no information for that.” https://twitter.com/tabitter/status/413984015193235456
My biggest concern for now is that if MGS5 will be available for global price on Steam for Japanese. Since MGR is not available nor activate-able for Japanese, MGS5 will likely be banned for Japanese as well. I tweeted Kojima Hideo directly to ask if MGS5 will be available for Japanese, but I probably won’t get reply unless my mention get re-tweeted million times or something.
Even some Japanese Indie games are not available on Steam as well. Fairy Bloom Freesia is one of these. This game is developed in Japanese by Japanese, and published by Capcom US and not available for purchase for Japanese. On developer’s website, they have statement about this issue. According to this, they contacted publisher to make it available for Japanese, but it was refused due to Capcom US’s intention.
Most games published by Japanese companies are a rip off
If you are Australian, you may understand this. Most games published by Japanese companies are a rip off. Here are some examples.
Call of Duty Black Ops 2(and most CoD series) is $99.99 (Doesn’t even include Japanese) and Dead Rising 3 is $62.99 while $44.90 in U.S., and so on…
Well, these rip offs are very common nowadays for Steam users living outside of U.S., so it won’t surprise you. We do understand that every countries have different currency rate, minimum wages. Something economic stuffs are pushing steam or developer/publisher to rip off. However,how about this: Thief is $49.99 while U.S. is $29.99, but for this game, Square Enix deleted Japanese language and selling “Japanese Language Pack” as DLC for $19.99. This DLC only appears if you are connecting from Japan. If you wish to play this game subtitled, you have to pay total of $69.98! That is one of the cheapest idea I have heard! They would do so well if they were ISP or Telecommunications company.
Dark Souls 2 is one of the worst as well. Dark Souls 2 is $79.99 while U.S. price is $49.99. Unlike titles above, this game was developed by Japanese company in Japanese. If Square Enix assumed that prices are higher because of translation fee, it is understandable (I still am not going to purchase them though), but for Dark Souls 2, it has higher price for no reason. Not only the price, they somehow deleted Black Armor Weapons Pack for Japanese. The weapon pack gives you some extra items at the start of the game. Those weapon won’t give you any advantage as the weapons are so weak, but it is pain to know that I cannot get them for being Japanese.
Some games are just abandoned
Here’s another example how bad the situation is. Support for the game Mad Max is just abandoned.
If you purchase this game from Japan, you have to pay 3 times the U.S. price. You also have to play in crappy censored version. These are one of the problems too, but the real serious problem for this game is that this game’s support is just abandoned and you get less bugfix and no DLC at all.
VPN won’t solve the problem
Some people suggested me to use VPN to purchase those blocked games. It works sometime, but not all the time.
It is not recommended to use VPN to purchase games on Steam from Japan as Japanese for some reasons.
1.It risks your account.
Although not many people cares about it and using VPN to purchase blocked games, using VPN on Steam is not allowed by Valve. It means it risks your account, and I know a guy who got banned & lost all his games for it. Purchasing keys at game key store and use VPN to activate is not okay as well.
2.Some games have two different versions
Some games, like Dark souls 2 has different versions. If you purchase Dark souls 2 from Japan, you get “Dark Souls 2 JP”. It contains Japanese Language. If you purchase Dark Souls 2 from North America, you get “Dark souls 2” It DOES NOT contain Japanese language.
Yes. Publishers know that Japanese consumers can use VPN to purchase games cheaper, so they separated the game into different versions, and deleted Japanese.
3.You will need U.S. issued credit card and address.
If you managed to install VPN on your computer, it is not yet over. You will need U.S. issued credit card and address to purchase. Well, this can be passed by purchasing VISA gift card and entering fake address, but since using VPN on Steam is forbidden, I don’t recommend it if you love your game library.
Japanese PC games are way tooooo expensive.
This probably is the reason why some Japanese games on Steam are so expensive. Because PC market in Japan is small for its popularity of consoles (Console games were 4 times popular than PC games in 2009, maybe more in 2014), PC games cost a lot more than average global price.
For example, A-train 9 is starting from 6,800 yen($68) to 10,000 yen($100) with all the DLCs. Still better than Thief or Dark Souls 2? No. The game was released in 2010 and it still costs $53 for standard edition. 2010 is the year Fallout New Vegas, Civilization V, Starcraft 2 were released! How can 4 years old game be sold at full price?!
By the way, A-train 9 is available on Steam also, so if you love company managing game like Cities in Motion, you might want to try it. It doesn’t contain Japanese language though. Its funny that translating Japanese game into English and German made the game cheaper.
Another example is Nobunaga’s Ambition. This game is sold at multiple platforms, PS4, PS3, VITA and PC. Price varies by platform, and it is as follows.
Why. Just why.
Even “Pro Cycling Manager 2012:English version of the game with Japanese manual” is sold for ＄51. What the actual fuck?
I really hope to end these craziness nightmare soon. Raising price for translating or for matching full price in Japan can be understood, but blocking games developed in Japanese in Japan is just ridiculous. If you are reading this as employee of companies listed above, or companies that bans games for Japanese on steam, please provide us a reasonable reason for this.
PS: you can just copy paste this article on your blog as if you wrote it because I want it to be spread.